“"Beware!"”Categories: Apostasy, Bible, Christian, Compromise, Daily Living, Expository Study, False Doctrine, Gospel, Heaven, Hell, Jesus Christ, New Testament, Paul, Peter, Power, Salvation, Scriptures, Sin, Spiritual Growth
I have been blessed with opportunities to preach on the radio throughout my life. I love radio work and am thankful I have been able to do this! Several years back, I was preaching on a radio station where the DJ/Owner was a Baptist and believed intensely in the “once-saved-always-saved” false doctrine. We had talked about this and other subjects in the past, but seemingly to no avail. On a day I will never forget, I was in the studio and began my program. The study included II Peter 3:17, which I read without comment. “Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness.” As I finished, I looked up from my Bible and saw this man literally shaking in his seat. In a moment, he composed himself walked out of the studio, leaving me alone to preach. I was impressed with the fact that the power is not in me, but in the word to change hearts (Rom. 1:16; Heb. 4:12)! What I was unable to do in months of talking, God’s word did in one sentence! He felt the power of those words and could see that what Peter wrote contradicted his belief.
What did Peter teach? Hopefully, as we have studied II Peter, we have seen his concern for the brethren. He wanted the people to be strong and add to their faith (ch. 1:5-10). He wanted to remind the brethren of “the present truth” so long as he lived (1:12-15) and to remain grounded as they prepared for the false teachers (ch. 2). An example of false teaching they faced was those who said the Lord would not return, and there is no judgment (ch. 3). Peter showed that these people were impatient and wrong and that the Lord doesn’t count time as we do (3:9). Finally, we read the warning, “Beware”! Beware that you are not “led away” and “fall from your own stedfastness” (3:17)!
The word “beware” is important. The original word (phulasso) suggests, “keep on your guard, avoid, or keep yourself from something” (Strong’s). We use this word in a similar way in English. To us, “beware” means there is danger to life and limb. Therefore, we need to stay away. Peter warns his readers to beware of being led away by the error of the wicked. Being led away is not harmless fun. It is not a minor infraction. We are in danger of losing our souls when we go with the wicked. Beware!
Notice Peter is telling Christians (1:1), not lost people, that they can fall from their own stedfastness. When people say that a Christian can’t fall away, don’t forget to show them this passage and I Timothy 4:1. Peter (by inspiration) was so concerned about Christians falling away that he wrote an entire book dedicated to keeping folks saved! This was the same motivation of the writer of Hebrews and the apostle Paul in his letters. Let us not fool ourselves into thinking that we can become Christians, and then after this, we can never fall. That is not taught in the Scriptures at all.
- Jarrod M. Jacobs